Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What do I want to do?

So much for updating regularly, eh?

Tonight I'm looking for answers, although why I think posting a blog entry for 3 people will give me answers, I don't know. I'm frustrated. I was actually surprised to find, after being hired at a large department store last fall, that I -liked- retail, or at least most of it. A lot had to do with my co-workers, who are friendly people (of course, that kind of job self-selects for that kind of personality). They made me feel at home. My manager was nice, and everything was going smoothly, and there was even a chance I could get a little promotion to part-time commissioned work! I stuck around after the holidays because of an offhand job offer by my manager. That job offer never materialized.

I'm now stuck in a job I don't like quite so much, and that "not liking so much" is quickly turning into "not liking at all", and that's never good for job performance. Not that my manager has been communicating about such tawdry details as job performance. She's avoiding me, and THAT is also not good. Leaving out all the details of what's gone on the last few months, let me just state that if it continues into April/May, I'm going to hand in my 2 weeks' notice and take my chances with unemployment.

I'd rather not, though, which has led me back into job searching... and the inevitable question: What do I even want to do?

Well, it's easy: I want to homestead. That doesn't pay too well, though.

I don't even know where to start looking for a job that I'd fit into! I have a lot of skills, but most of them (writing, basic farm skills, baking) are either underpaid or not in demand, and the rest are underdeveloped (I don't have the "3-5 years experience" preferred for most jobs in my areas of interest). We need money; I can't go back to volunteering no matter how much I'd love to toss my wallet out the window and spend another summer turning compost at the urban farm. I keep tossing around the idea that happiness is worth so much more than money... but then I turn around and look at my beat-up shoes, the ones that I have worn out because I have to be on my feet all day, and I remember how painful being on one's feet all day is when one doesn't have new footwear regularly, and I think "I'd be happier if I had the money for new shoes!", and you can see where that leads.

Maybe it's time to get my act together and start my own damn business. I keep thinking how great it would be to run a camp... but that's the kind of thing that doesn't happen overnight and I'd need a ton of sponsors to get started, and even then - I'm great in a supporting role, but I don't so so well in the lead. I'd rather work as a (well-paid) camp counselor and let someone else deal with the paperwork! :(

1 comment:

  1. I had a big, long philosophical response but lost it when it made me sign-in. The basic gist was:

    You didn't set yourself up right for homesteading (buying a house with a scrubby little patch of grass in the middle of a city, wasting 4 years on a worthless degree, etc), but that doesn't mean you should give up. Your dream is totally unrealistic for where you are right now, but if it's what keeps you going, for heavens sake don't give up on it.

    Right now you should have one goal - keeping income > expenses. It's going to be incredibly difficult but because your circumstances have pretty much sucked (some in part due to your choices, mostly due things beyond your control) you are going to have to work your ass off to get anywhere closer to where you want to be. And most likely it's going to suck. But you have to do it. For the shoes, for the garden, for the homestead. You'll have to make things better one little step at a time, even if you don't know exactly where you're going. Hopefully you have some idea of how you can make yourself more marketable for ~anything~, and are willing to do what it takes to get there. I'm lucky in that I know what I want to do and have been pretty fortunate in accumulating the work experience, skills, and credentials I need to move forward. I don't have it all down, but I think I can still get where I want if I play my cards right. You haven't been so lucky, but that doesn't mean you should throw in the towel, it just means you should keep your eyes open and be creative. There may just be a niche for you in urban planning (get a grant for a community garden and head up the project while working part-time in your retail job - this shows initiative and gives you "grant writing skills", that can help you land a job working for the city's "open space" department (or whatever they call it out there). You might look in to getting certified as a master gardener. Or if you don't mind manual labor, take a landscaping job which might help qualify you for something you're more interested in. Moral of the story is you're at the bottom of the ladder in the pool of unskilled labor with nothing real to distinguish you from the rest. You are incredibly smart (and your attitude has improved), but you need to be able to SHOW your skills and character attributes on your resume (preferably not traits like "snaps at children" or "just quits when she gets fed up"). So if you're innovative and creative and interested in homesteading, read up on permaculture and draw up a portfolio. Keep your Spanish language skills functional (I have resources that might help) or consider learning a new language that will set you apart. You can't just wallow in self-pity and "shoulds" (I ~should~ be able to, I ~should have~, I ~should be~ ...).

    Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. You're smart, now you just need to show you can work your ass off (in a way that actually moves you forward - don't just tread water) to get what you want.